Best Vegan Protein Bars
Review and Buyers Guide
Edited by: Isabel Stewart , Last updated: December 3, 2020
As the battle around protein rages on between meat-eaters and vegans, one thing both sides can’t deny is the importance of protein in any diet.
Protein plays a critical role in the building and repair of all tissues. It is also an essential component of hormone and enzyme development.
Despite what many meat-eaters may shout, there is a multitude of ways to get enough protein on a plant-based diet without consuming dead animals. From the serious athlete to the average gym-goer, you can find a protein solution based on plants.
One healthy solution that can work wonders for meat-eaters and vegans alike are plant-based protein bars.
A healthy plant-based protein bar can provide a wide range of nutritional benefits due to being densely packed with nutrients. With a big boost of protein supported by high fiber, minerals, and vitamins, it becomes a great way to support a balanced diet and helps to hit your macro targets.
But since protein is promoted everywhere you look, it can be hard to separate the quality bars from the nutritionally empty marketing hype.
We have researched all the top vegan protein bars available and have narrowed down the top 6 that we feel are of the highest quality and will provide the best nutritional benefit to your diet.
At the end of this article, you’ll be an expert on vegan protein bars and will know exactly what to look for in the best plant-based protein bars while avoiding purchasing empty calory snacks.
Best vegan protein bars at a glance:
- Editors Choice: Garden of Life Sport Vegan Protein bar
- Best tasting vegan protein bar: Raw Rev Glo Vegan Protein Bars
- Best low-calorie vegan protein bar: Simply Vegan Protein Bar
- Best high protein vegan protein bar: Papa Steve’s No Junk Raw Protein Bars
- Best gluten-free vegan protein bar: Aloha Organic plant-based protein bar
- Best gluten-free vegan protein bar: No Cow Vegan Protein Bar
- Best Vegan Protein Bars
- Best vegan protein bars at a glance:
- Top Vegan protein bars reviewed (2021 updated)
- 1. Garden of Life Sport Vegan Protein bar – Editor’s Choice
- 2. Raw Rev Glo Vegan Protein Bars – Best Tasting vegan protein bar
- 3. Simply Vegan Protein Bar – Best premium centrifugal juicer
- 4. Papa Steve’s No Junk Raw Protein Bars – Best High protein vegan bar
- 5. Aloha Organic plant-based protein bar – Best Gluten free vegan protein bar
- 6. No Cow Vegan Protein Bar – Best High protein Low calore vegan bar
- Vegan Protein Bar Buyers Guide
- Frequently asked questions
- Want to get more out of your plant-based diet?
Top Vegan protein bars reviewed (2021 updated)
1. Garden of Life Sport Vegan Protein bar – Editor’s Choice
The garden of life sport protein bar is one of the best plant-based protein bars around for the health-conscious vegan. It comes with 20 grams of protein per bar, which is at the higher range of protein out of our top picks, making this great for those trying to build muscle mass. The primary protein sources are based on pea protein and almonds with no soy, making this perfect for those looking for a soy-free high protein healthy snack to keep them on track for their fitness goals.
The garden of life bar boasts one of the most impressive nutritional profiles out of all our top picks with 20g protein 33g carbs and only 1g of saturated fat with 0g trans fats making this one of the healthiest protein bars around from a macronutrient perspective.
From a micronutrient perspective, it boasts 185mg calcium the highest out of our top picks helping you hit 15% of your recommended daily amount and also contains 4mg iron (20%) magnesium 76mg (20%) ensuring a lot of the vital nutrients needed on a vegan diet are taken care of.
Vegan certified and free-from gluten, soy, and wheat plus non-GMO, making this a great option for those with intolerances. With a healthy 7g of fiber, it should also provide benefits to your digestive system.
It comes with four flavors: Chocolate fudge, chocolate mint, peanut butter chocolate, and sea salt caramel, with our favorite being the chocolate mint.
Overall the Garden of Life Sport vegan protein bar hits the perfect balance between protein, fats, calories, micronutrients, and flavor. It is high in fiber and contains no soy gluten or dairy plus is certified for sport by the NSF and informedchoice.org making this our overall best option for vegan protein bars for any fitness enthusiast.show less
Why we love it
things to be aware of
2. Raw Rev Glo Vegan Protein Bars – Best Tasting vegan protein bar
The Raw Rev Glo plant-based protein bar is one of our favorite raw vegan options coming in At 15 grams of protein per bar with protein sources mainly from peanuts, peas, brown rice and hemp protein. This makes this a nice option for those trying to find a vegan protein bar without soy. It also has a beautiful blend of organic chia seeds and organic sprouted flax seeds, which is great for vegans since it will boost your omega-3 levels.
Raw Rev Glo is free-from soy, gluten, whey, corn, GMOs, so this can be a nice go-to choice for any vegan with food intolerances or digestive issues. It also comes with 2% calcium, 35% iron, 10% magnesium , 25% manganese, 15% phosphorus, and 6% zinc. This combination of healthy minerals and vitamins can be an exceptional nutrient boost to any plant-based diet.
180 calories per bar with a great protein to carb ratio with 15 grams of protein and 17g carbs per serving, making this a great balanced mini-meal. With only 2g of sugar and 14g fiber, this should help you to avoid sugar spikes and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Due to the chia seeds and organic sprouted flax seeds, each bar provides a healthy serving of omega-3 fats, which are brilliant for helping prevent heart issues and lower blood pressure. There is also only a minimal amount of sat fats at 2g and 0 trans fats, which is good for keeping cholesterol low.
It comes with over ten flavor options, with most users saying they loved the taste. For us, we found the creamy peanut butter and sea salt the best choice between nutritional content and flavor since it has the highest protein content per bar. In contrast, the other flavors had lower protein content and varied in their caloric amounts.
Overall the Raw Rev Glo plant-based protein bar is out top choice for best tasting vegan protein bar due to its high protein content balanced macronutrient stats, low caloric content, and extremely minimal processing.show less
Why we love it
things to be aware of
3. Simply Vegan Protein Bar – Best premium centrifugal juicer
The simply vegan protein bar contains 15g soy protein and only 16g carbs, making this a great low carb bar to keep calories low while giving you the protein you need to build strength. The other benefit of the soy protein base is the ability to hit intake a wider range of essential amino acids that some alternative protein bars may not include.
It contains a nice amount of calcium at 10% RDA and iron at 15% RDA, which are both vital micronutrients needed on a vegan diet. There is 1g of sugar 0.5g of sat fat and only 150 calories per bar, which is by far the lowest out of all our top picks. The low-calorie content makes this an excellent bar for those trying to lose weight or maintain a low caloric intake while keeping protein relatively high.
The Simply protein bar contains a wide range of flavors, with all bars falling in the range of 15-16g of protein per bar. The stand out flavors were peanut butter chocolate, chocolate coconut, chocolate-caramel with the peanut butter chocolate being a vegan agility favorite.
Overall, the Simply protein bar holds our top spot for low-calorie vegan protein bar. Its best for vegans who want a low-calorie health bar throughout the day. With its high protein and high fiber at only 150 calories per bar, it’s a wonderful option for keeping your protein on track, while the fiber helps you feel fuller for longer, preventing cravings and the urge to eat junk food.show less
Why we love it
things to be aware of
4. Papa Steve’s No Junk Raw Protein Bars – Best High protein vegan bar
Papa steves no junk raw protein bar is our 2nd raw bar on the list that scores highly in protein content, fiber, and flavor. It boasts 20g of protein per bar, which is at the higher end of our top picks. It has a protein formula based on peanut butter, peas, tapioca fiber, and brown rice protein. The wide range of protein sources makes this great for achieving a comprehensive essential amino acid profile, which some struggle to achieve on a typical vegan diet.
It contains the highest level of vitamin c out of all our top picks at vitamin at 60%. It also contains calcium and iron, which are both essential nutrients needed on a vegan diet.
Date’s are used as a sweetener instead of stevia, which is excellent for the natural flavor that they are aiming for. Dates are also useful for the phytonutrients they contain, which can help to prevent blood sugar speaks after a high-carbohydrate meal.
Papa steves raw protein bar is non-GMO and contains no soy, gluten, dairy, or whey, making this perfect for vegans prone to stomach issues.
Papa steves protein bar has the highest calories per bar out of all our top picks at 315 which makes this great for individuals trying to bulk or pack on muscle mass, but if you aim to lose weight or maintain a lean physique with lower calories, then the raw rev glow protein bar is a nice low-calorie raw alternative.
One of the great things about the Papa Steve range of bars is that variety of flavors. They currently have peanut butter crunch, banana oat choco-chip, apple cinnamon pecan, and dark chocolate cherry, but we recommend the peanut butter crunch since it has the highest protein per bar while the others are lower.
Overall papa steves no junk raw protein is our top pick for high protein, high-calorie raw protein bar, and is a brilliant choice for the health-conscious vegan trying to pack on healthy mass.show less
Why we love it
things to be aware of
5. Aloha Organic plant-based protein bar – Best Gluten free vegan protein bar
Aloha created an amazing organic vegan protein bar that not only tastes great but is free from gluten and stevia making this an excellent vegan protein bar for anyone with food intolerances.
At 14 grams of protein per bar with a brown rice protein and cashew nut base, it provides you with a nice range of essential amino acids needed to maintain a healthy body. With only 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 trans fats and a whopping 14grams of fiber per bar the aloha vegan protein bar will work wonders for keeping your digestive system running smoothly. Its also free from sugar alcohols and soy, making this one of the best vegan protein bars with a clean ingredients list.
Each Aloha bar provides a large boost to the essential nutrients needed on a vegan diet delivering 4% calcium, 10% magnesium, and 20%of your daily iron needs. Iron is especially important since it is needed for the production of healthy red blood cells and the transfer of oxygen around your body.
Overall the Aloha Vegan protein bar takes our top spot for a gluten-free vegan protein bar with a clean ingredient list and delicious flavor.
Why we love it
things to be aware of
6. No Cow Vegan Protein Bar – Best High protein Low calore vegan bar
The now cow vegan protein bar stands out due to having the best protein to calorie ratio out of all our top picks. With 20 grams of protein per bar and only 190 calories, it’s an excellent option for those trying to pack on lean muscle without excessive fat. Its made from a protein base of peas and brown rice with no soy, dairy, gluten, or added sugar, making this a good choice for those with a sensitive digestive system.
Contains 2g of sat fats which falls into our minimal target range of 0.5-2.5 grams and only contains 1g of sugar which is fantastic for keeping your calories and cholesterol low.
The No cow vegan bar has a great texture and multiple flavors to choose from which is excellent for variety. Some users found the flavors to be quite sweet due to the stevia. If you prefer a more natural tasting low-calorie bar, then the Raw Rev Glo is a great alternative.
Overall the high protein content, no soy, low fat, and sugar content make this the best high protein low-calorie bar out of our top picks and with 19g of healthy fiber you will feel fuller for longer preventing cravings throughout the day
Why we love it
things to be aware of
Vegan Protein Bar Buyers Guide
So what do we look for in a quality protein bar?
How much protein do you get per bar?
We look for a minimum of 14 grams of protein in vegan bars since protein is our focus.
Pay close attention to the amount of protein you are getting per bar. An excellent average range to aim for is around 20 grams per bar. Some companies may state that you get a high amount of protein bars per box, but if the protein content per bar is small (10-15g ), then the overall value is diminished, resulting in the need for more bars to hit your protein target. 21-30g per bar is in the higher range, and this is a great amount for athletes or very active individuals. 15-20g per bar (which is in the mid-range) is perfect for the vegan who has a very balanced diet but wants an additional daily boost to aid in recovery or add a broader range of amino acids into their regime.
What is the source of protein in the bar?
As vegans, we want to avoid any bars with protein derived from meat or dairy, which will mainly be whey. The primary four protein sources we look for are soy, pea, hemp, and brown rice.
For those without food intolerances, soy protein bars, or a protein blend, using a mix of the four is a great choice. Great for providing a varied amino acid profile to your diet, allowing you to reap the benefits of each one.
If you have a sensitive digestive system, it is better to choose a hypoallergenic protein source such as pea or rice. The best protein bars will have minimal ingredients allowing you to easily monitor what you are consuming, which can help to prevent any potential allergic reactions.
Main sources of protein for Vegan protein bars?
Most vegan protein bars are created with the use of 4 plant-based protein sources as the base.
- Soya will make up the bulk of a lot of protein bars since it contains a high ratio of protein in comparison to other macronutrients and boasts an extensive amino acid profile, meaning soya doesn’t need to be combined with much else to create a so-called “complete protein.” For more in-depth information on vegan protein and amino acid profiles, check out our vegan protein guide.
- Naturally cholesterol free
- The downside to soya products is that some people are allergic/sensitive to it or may simply want to avoid it. A pea protein base may be a better alternative.
- Peas (link out to best pea protein article)
- Created by extracting the protein from split peas (yellow peas)
- Contains all of the essential amino acids that our bodies cant create independently
- High in iron
- Easily digested
- Great for those with allergies or sensitive digestive systems
- Peas are reasonably high in sodium, so if sodium is a nutritional concern of yours then rice or hemp protein may be a better alternative.
- Low in methionine, which is one of the essential amino acids we cant create ourselves. To compensate for the low amount of methionine in pea protein, it can be combined with brown rice protein since its naturally high in methionine.
- Hypoallergenic meaning it doesn’t contain any of the typical things that cause people to have allergic reactions.
- Easily digested
- Helps to regulate cholesterol
- The main downside to rice protein is that it is low in lysine, which is a vital amino acid. A solution to the low lysine content is to either buy a protein shake with a blend of peas, hemp, or soya. The other option is to make sure as part of your balanced diet to add in plant-based foods high in lysine such as quinoa, tempeh, black beans, and lentils.
- Contains all 9 essential amino acids
- Good source of fiber
- Good for heart health
- High in unsaturated fats and the important omega 3 (create a link)
- High in omega 6
- High in many minerals and vitamins.
Calories, sugar, and fiber per bar
The calories per bar and its importance will depend on your goals. For those trying to bulk up picking a clean protein bar that has high protein amounts per serving plus high calories from healthy fats and added vegetable carbohydrate sources is a good option. Usually, this will range between 150-200 calories per serving.
High fiber is always beneficial for better digestion. Fiber also helps to lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar levels, which can play a part in preventing sugar spikes. Fiber content above 10 grams per bar is a good minimum to aim for.
For those trying to lose weight or maintain current body composition while retaining muscle, then a low calorie per bar with a high overall protein ratio is the best option. A protein size per bar of 20-25g per average with a calorie amount of 80-100 per bar is a good range.
When analyzing calories, make sure the bulk of the caloric content comes from the protein and the other beneficial ingredients that will help to reach your goals. Be aware of high caloric content that has come from added sugar or unnecessary filler ingredients.
Bars taste and flavor
It is well known that some lower quality plant-based protein bars don’t have the nicest taste, but there are many on the market that taste fantastic. We only picked the vegan protein bars that scored high for flavor without an overwhelmingly sweet or sugary taste since this is essential to feeling satisfied with your purchase.
Fats, trans fats and sugar
All our top picks had to have a Maximum of 3g sat fat per bar with 0.5 to 2g being the most optimal. Many bars will state their protein content on the packaging as the selling point, but users will find out later down the line that they are packing on a significant amount of calories due to the fat and sugar content in the bars so always look for low numbers of fat and sugar to avoid an unnecessary surplus of calories.
Yeast, Corn, Soy, and Gluten-free and other additives?
For those with a sensitive digestive system, it is essential to avoid yeast corn gluten and sometimes soy.
For anyone with food intolerances, we recommend choosing a rice or pea protein source since they are hypoallergenic and are the easiest to digest.
The best bars will have the least additives as possible. What we are looking for is clean ingredients with a small ingredients list. Some companies may add extra ingredients to make their bars appear unique. It is important to ensure any added ingredients provide an ultimate benefit and aren’t just empty calories.
Dried fruits for flavor is excellent but aim for an ingredient list consisting of mainly plant foods without sweeteners.
Organic & Non-GMO
It is paramount any product chosen uses organic ingredients and non-GMO to make sure the number of chemicals in your products is kept to a minimum. This allows your body to make the most of the nutrients contained in the protein bar without having to deal with foods that will either end up as waste or take a lot of energy to breakdown.
Be aware that if a product is Non-GMO but doesn’t state organic, it still may contain food sources that had pesticides or herbicides used on them, so always look for the organic label in the ingredients.
Always lookout for a vegan label on the product to ensure that the supplement is vegan-friendly.
Many non-vegan protein bars are made of whey protein, which comes from dairy. If there is no vegan label or certification on your protein bar packaging, then there is a high chance the protein bar will be whey-based, so read the label and packaging to avoid any mishaps.
- How many bars do you get in a pack?
- How much are you being charged per bar, and how much grams of protein are you getting for the price?
Always compare serving amounts to the overall price of the product and other similar products to make sure you are getting the best value for money.
- The best way to calculate this is to multiply the protein amount per bar by the number of bars in the whole box. Then divide the actual price of the whole box by the total protein number.
- Formula =Total price / (Protein per bar x number of bars).
The second thing to pay attention to is whether the company provides a return or guarantee with the purchase. When a company offers a way for you to return your product if you are not satisfied, it instills confidence in your purchase and the brand.
Frequently asked questions
Want to get more out of your plant-based diet?
Why not check out some of our guides and delicious vegan recipes, high in plant protein, to boost your essential amino acid intake and bring balance back to your diet!